Unbreak my Heart; a short story.
And in the end, if your relationship feels as if you are holding a begging bowl asking your partner to put in some attention and care, probably you just need to stop asking. Perhaps you need to reassess where you stand and maybe it isn't your partner's love or affection that you need right now, but your own. Self-love is so underestimated, my love. No books or romance novels teach you about it. The movies making millions on our tax money don't talk about it. Your peers and friends or even your family don't tell you that.
And one day you realise that you have simply fallen out of love with yourself. That you don't even matter to yourself and have handed over all strings of attachment to someone else and they can do whatever they please with you.
Darling until you love yourself first, you can never love anyone else.
So, what I want you to do right now, is throw away that begging bowl for you have held it long enough. And throw away the change you have collected in it.
Throw it away for good and take charge of yourself. Gather yourself, Darling, and start with a deep breath and a smile.
Love may be important but self-love is vital.
“Nisha, it has been ages since we last met. How have you been my love?”
A sudden cheerful roar from behind the Conifer trees stunned Nisha for a moment and she turned to look around to see her long-forgotten friend Ayra standing there in the sweltering sun. She had a straw hat on her head and looked pretty in a long purple dress and hiking boots.
“You will never change,” said Nisha taking in her outfit which wasn’t exactly the right choice for a day in the forest teeming with all kinds of notorious crawling creatures.
“That, I sure won't,” Ayra replied. “You know how I crave for instagram good pictures even in real life.”
Nisha hugged her friend.
“It feels like we never actually parted,” she said placing a soft peck on her cheek.
“I am sure you still use those transferrable lipsticks, honey, she replied, wiping her cheek with the corner of a wet wipe. “See,” she said, showing her the tissue. “And here goes my last trace of makeup. Do you have a mirror? Well, never mind,” she smiled, taking out a small vanity mirror from her elegant Michael Kors handbag.
“Ayra, who comes for a hike looking like that? Will you never get over it?”
“Get over the feeling of looking good! Nah, darling, no chance.”
“It has been three years now, right, Ayra?” she asked, holding her friend’s hand.
“Where have you been all this while? I noticed your absence from all social media, you even gave up WhatsApp. I swear I tried to locate you but your mom said you had moved to a different city. Why would you do that darling and leave us with no clue?”
“Mom knew where I was but I told her not to tell anyone.”
“While I supposed we were good friends...”
“Ayra,” said Nisha after a while. “I was going through a rough patch in my life and…”
“Is it over now...?” she interjected.
“Yes, it is… It just took me a wee bit longer this time and now here I am in the woods, contemplating my next book… and,”
“I did see two of your books, the last one was a best seller. Wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it topped the sales charts in almost all countries.”
“You put in a lot of hard work too.”
“It was more of a heart work, a lot of broken heart work…” she replied.
“Let’s sit somewhere,” said Ayra pointing to a corrugated iron bench at the edge of the forest trail. “God knows my boots are killing me.”
The two friends walked next to each other as it abruptly started pouring.
“Oh no,” they said in unison, running simultaneously for cover under a thick canopied wide bushed conifer. Some of the trees had woven their branches together to form a near-perfect umbrella.
“Never trust the weather in these parts,” said Ayra.
“Neither in real life,” added Nisha. “It has been a roller coaster year for me, but thankfully it is over.”
“You can share if you want to. You can trust me.”
“It’s no secret anymore after I broke up with Zaher,”
“The guy from the dorm?”
“Didn’t know you were going steady with him, of all the other options you had. I mean with handsome guys drooling over you, you chose that simpleton...?”
“He chose me, I didn’t, but then life was never the same again.”
“You fell in love with him?”
“Yes, I did.”
“You know something, Ayra, it is in the strangest places where we fall and cut ourselves bad. Not where we expect for there we tread carefully. With Zaher, I was so sure he’d hold me on the pedestal of a Goddess I was supposed to be, I mean I had everything, looks, career, money, fame, you name it. What more could a guy have asked for...? Hah…” she paused, moving one finger over the dripping needles. The rain had stopped as soon as it had started and a drizzle had replaced it.
“It was a fairytale in the beginning. Well to him, at least, it was. He basked in the shade of celebrityhood that being with me gave him, over the next few months. Guys envied him. Nisha, the prized catch was his for keeps.”
“It sure must have blinded him, but why did you say yes, to him in the first place?”
“Ayra, he just felt like the right guy. I mean I was sure I wouldn’t be left heartbroken with a guy like him. You know what I mean, right? That he would forever cherish the fact that I was with him, that he had a goddess by his side.”
“But soon enough the fireballs ended. The haze cleared and I realized he was two-timing.”
“For God’s sake, Nisha…Zaher, two-timing a woman like you?”
“The sad truth, yes, and the fact being, that I acted as his confidence booster. He had low self-esteem before we met but having me changed everything for him. Suddenly he gained immense respect in his circle; guys started looking up to him. Girls started seeking him to prove that he could be manipulated, to maybe make me lick the dust.
I didn’t know it would happen but it did. I told him to become friends with people and that he needed to interact with them, with girls…
I gave him the magic carpet but unknown to me he started unravelling the threads from where I sat and before I could realize what was happening, I had fallen flat on the ground.”
“Don’t tell me…”
“Yes, Ayra. It was a potent realization and I seriously didn’t know how to win him back. He seemed to be enjoying the attention of two women at the same time. You know, there were times when he would wait for me for hours or would speak to me endlessly about his day at work. We would speak for hours on the phone, sometimes, well past midnight but suddenly his calls and texts became less frequent. It was as if he just wanted to keep me around as his confidence booster and have the time of his life with the other women.”
“That’s too bad...”
“Didn’t you bring it out in the open? I mean didn’t you confront him?”
“Oh yes, I did and it felt humiliating. He said he expected me to understand that she was just a friend. He had a right to speak with his friends, he had a life and-”
“I couldn’t blame him. The thing was I suddenly felt helpless. It was as if once he had me, he started devaluing me and I felt so used. Sometimes I’d call him past eleven pm and his phone would be busy. He never cared to pick my call and I wondered if this was the same guy who had pursued me for a year and a half.”
“You should have left him then. How did it matter? You could have found any handsome guy. why didn’t you...?”
“Humiliation is a bitter pill to swallow, darling and he had shoved loads of it into my mouth. I couldn’t walk away no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t get over the fact that I had been belittled and that the jerk who was never good enough for me had suddenly derided me in the worst possible way. It was heartbreaking but then he wouldn’t have found the chink in my armor if I hadn’t permitted him. I wanted him bad, Ayra, I wanted him for keeps. He had the nerve to tell me that I’d have to keep up with his other girlfriends and that he valued them in his life.”
“I don’t believe this Nisha. How could you do this to yourself?”
“Well, I did and at that moment, it hardly made sense. My mind was so clouded with him I almost lost focus on everything I held precious to me. I started putting on weight. I’d send him my pictures, to make him realize what he owned. I would wait for him to be online so we could chat but then he simply ignored my messages and started ghosting me out. Oh, it was a lot of pain I went through those days. I just didn’t know how to make him crave for me. I wanted him to feel weak in his knees like he had before but nothing worked. The more I tried to come closer to him the further he withdrew. I was in pain, a lot of pain and started medicines, but nothing would help and then…”
“I found out he had gotten engaged to someone…”
“And that didn’t deter you. You..., Nisha, come to think of it...?”
“Ayra, thank your stars for being aligned. Love can misalign them in the worst possible way...”
“How do you know? Mine never misaligned but well that’s another story. Finish yours first.”
“Come to think of it, it wasn’t exactly love what I felt in that instance for a woman craves for respect more than she craves for love and once someone humiliates her, love dies a painful death right there. It wasn’t love that I felt at that moment, I just wanted to get over the humiliation he had put me through.”
“By begging him for his love…?”
“In the first instance, yes, but then something happened that sorted out everything.”
“Tell me, I am dying to know. The woman I know must have some aces up her sleeve. I have always admired your wit. What happened...?”
“It was the night we talked about his engagement and he said he would go ahead with it no matter what, and that he had known it for years and the girl knew it too so he couldn’t back out now. I asked him then what was it he felt for me? What was between us? and you know what he said? He said that he admired my word, my writings and then when met, things became a bit intense…so all that he held for me were the few hours spent in his bedroom and that was it. That we got carried away and he wasn’t to blame. I well-nigh knew what I was doing.”
“Why didn’t you punch him then,”
“One, I was on the phone and secondly I couldn’t accept the fact that he had so casually shoved me aside.”
“What did you tell him then?”
“I said...and don’t kill me for that...”
“I said, I won’t interfere in your life if you’ve promised her but let us stay the way we are. You won’t find another like me.”
“No way Girl. No way…Nisha. How could you…and the bastard agreed, for what did he have to lose darling? You were literally begging him to stay.”
“Gosh…I want to rip him apart...!”
“You know something, Ayra, we seldom realize the pain we are capable of inflicting on ourselves. Love can turn you into a puppet and once you hand over the strings to another, they can make you dance to their tune.”
“I want to know how are you still sane after all this…”
“I went through literal hell. Couldn’t keep him, didn’t want to leave him. Would stay if he wished, and me not staying didn’t matter much or so he told me. I took sleeping pills to get over this humiliation. My sole objective was to be appreciated by the man who had suddenly fallen out of love with me. It was disastrous, for whatever I said or did would backfire. I wanted my self-respect back but I wanted him to fall in love with me once again.”
“By begging for his love?”
“Yes, until one day I realized it wasn’t worth it. That nothing is worth it. I would listen to Amy Winehouse on a loop all day. Felt suicidal, demotivated. I had lost myself. My fans and friends wished me well. I was losing my mind or perhaps already had lost it…”
“That night I put on my best makeup, dressed enticingly and went to him. I threw myself upon him to make him realize what he owned, Ayra. It was a mess...a total mess. It was the last piece of my self-respect that I gave up in a futile attempt to regain him, but…”
“He had seen enough of me. I was dejected, hurt, sad, forlorn and lost…”
“Do you know when we have nothing to lose, we have everything to win? Here I stood after losing everything on the shore of a sea that threatened to drown me in and it didn’t scare me. I chose to dive headlong.”
“What did you do girl?”
“I got back to life darling, that’s what I did. I knew I had to get over this obsession one step at a time, so I did what he was doing to me. I acted neutral. Spoke to friends like I did before, went out and practically tried to regain my life with a heavy heart in the beginning but then things fell into their proper place. The very first day I noticed that he had become a bit confused about my attitude. Love is a game of nerves, darling, it is all about how long you can capture the other person’s attention, how long you can make them crave for you. I stopped giving myself unconditionally. I f****d with his brain as he had f*****d with mine. yes, that’s what I did. I knew I was the smarter one out there and he didn’t have a chance once I chose to demolish him…”
“Soon enough…he began craving for me…”
“And you held back?”
“I spent time with men, I mean casual friends. Knew better not to lose my heart this time and I made sure he noticed it. It wasn’t easy and I felt dejected at this game. Wondered why was I even doing this, but it was a game I had started. And I had to finish it at all costs…”
“I made him beg for my closeness and in the beginning, the turning of tables surprised me but then, I was bored…” she paused to take a deep breath.
“There were men handsome and intelligent enough and they surrounded me like bees. Well, that’s it. I didn’t yield my heart to anyone but I learned a lesson for a lifetime…”
“Stay in love with yourself, for once you fall out of it, no one can help you find your way back. In my case, well, meditation helped me a lot. Perhaps, women like us are made up of harder stuff or are maybe malleable. I refused to break.”
“You made healing sound so simple, but oh, what you must have gone through…”
“Yes, still recuperating from the loss of my self-esteem though…”
“What happened to Zaher?”
Well, for one he broke up with his fiancé and I wish him luck finding another one.”
“Lol...that makes sense. He doesn’t know what he lost.”
“And he doesn’t know what I gained either. Self-love is a huge boon...I wonder why I fell out of love with myself in the first place?”
The drizzle had stopped as the two friends sat on the iron bench lost in some deep thought.
“Nisha,” Finally Ayra spoke. “I have a story to tell you too, but before that let us have a cup of simmering hot coffee in my room,”
“What do you think, I didn’t come here for hiking honey, but for some Instagram worthy clicks. I am staying at the hotel right next to this trial.”
“And yet we sat out the rain under this clumsy shade...” Nisha frowned as she stood up from the bench.
The sun was about to set over the horizon and she was eager to hear the story Ayra had to tell.